Thursday, July 11, 2013

Videodrone: 8 Million Ways to Die

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

Had high hopes for 8 Million Ways to Die because I felt like it had Night Moves or To Live and Die in L.A. potential. While it's not on the level of either of those films, some strong performances make up for inconsistent pacing, making 8 Million Ways... a decent enough movie to have a drink and watch once, especially if you're a fan of the genre.

The basic elements of a potential personal favorite are there, from the synthy score by James Newton Howard, to the hard drinkin, rough around the edges cop played by the great Jeff Bridges. Bridges playing a cop brings enough unintentional comedy to the table, even though we only see his alcoholic side in the intro (which is pretty great). Hearing him drop at least 5,000 "mannn's" is always a treat, and he brings an offbeat style to the role that's fitting to this particular film which is itself offbeat.

(Look at the face he makes at 1:30)

The film itself being offbeat is what keeps it from being great - there are more than a few parts that really fuggin' sag, man, as Bridges might say. What keeps it afloat are great performances from Bridges and Andy Garcia as the villain, Maldonado (featuring the illest short ponytail this side of Frankie Sharp from Sharp Records). 

Any of the scenes where Bridges and Garcia go head to head are easily the highlights of 8 Million Ways to Die. These two have some great chemistry and their two characters are so fucking weird in terms of traditional cop/villain tropes - see specifically the scene in which they go back and forth, escalating the tension perfectly, all while sharing some snowcones fresh out of the trunk of Garcia's car. I love that shit. Oliver Stone wrote the script, and should be thanked if only for the line, "The streetlights make my pussy hair glow in the dark, like cotton candy...wanna see?" Can't make this shit up, folks.

Rosanna Arquette adds to the sleazy and weird performances because, well, of course she does in a movie like this. You'd prob need a few drinks in you to pounce on Rosanna, just like you'd need a few to fully enjoy this film. The universe depicted in 8 Million Ways to Die is far away from what we consider to be reality, yet the leads' performances make all this bullshit somehow believable, all the way up to the chaotic showdown in the end that really just consists of everyone screaming at each other while that synth builds up - and somehow it works.

Speaking of all that screaming, the honorable mention of this movie goes to Randy Brooks, who plays Willie "Chance" Walker. This guy only screams whenever he's on screen - to say Willie has a short temper doesn't even begin to describe this cat. His bodyguard is a young D-Bo who, in one especially confrontational scene, runs top speed back and forth in nothing but nut huggin gym shorts. I told you this shit was weird as hell. Willie Walker is crazy. Garcia is crazy. Bridges is a chill, snow cone eating ex cop, who pushes around hookers and gets called a "lush" 50 times in 2 hours. Have a few stiff drinks during this one, and a snow cone if you got one, and you'll have a good time.

No comments:

Post a Comment